Grieving mother ‘not surprised’ at NHS trust’s inadequate rating

Daniel Chapman
Daniel Chapman
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A grieving mother has spoken out against a NHS trust which was rated inadequate for the second time in three years.

Linda Durrant’s only son, Daniel Chapman, 33, who lived in Bury, died from a drug overdose in 2014 while in the care of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

The coroner found that the trust’s care did not contribute to his death, but Linda believes the trust failed her son.

Commenting on the report findings, she said: “I’m totally not surprised at all. Even after having had numerous meetings with staff in an attempt to improve things, I saw no improvement whatsoever.”

The trust was deemed inadequate in a report carried out by the Care Quality Commission which was released last week.

It found that safety and leadership within the trust’s services were inadequate while the level of care was found to be good.

“I don’t dispute that staff are caring but caring isn’t enough. They have to be competent too,” Linda said.

The report raised several concerns, including that all staff had not had mandatory training and that the number of serious incidents at the trust remained high.

Sharon Allison, a solictor who has represented numerous families in cases against the trust, said: “Having litigated against the trust for many years I find the fact that they are back in special measures entirely depressing.

“It was clearly spelled out to them where they needed to improve. I’m sure if the CQC could see that it was a work in progress, they’d be good about it so I can only assume that no progress has been made.

“We’re dealing with the most vulnerable demographic. These people are very ill and need the best care we can possibly give them.”

In recent years, a number of people have taken their own lives while in the trust’s care, including Joe Ruler, 19, who hanged himself at Wedgwood House in Bury in 2010.

The trust was placed in special measures in 2014 and came out of them in October last year after its rating rose from inadequate to requiring improvement.

Linda expressed concern about whether lessons had been learned from Daniel’s death and said the trust needs to improve in order to stop history repeating itself.

“I’m sad as a mother. Every time someone else’s child dies, I feel for the mother because I wouldn’t wish what I’m feeling on anyone,” she said.

The chief executive of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has ‘unreservedly apologised’ for the recent CQC report which found its services to be inadequate.

Julie Cave admitted that the trust had not made enough improvements over the last year since coming out of special measures last October.

She said: “Our Trust’s Board has actioned an urgent response to the CQC inspection report and its findings.

“Work to address these is already underway, being led by local managers in Trust services, with Executive and full Board oversight.”

The trust is working to develop a Quality Improvement Plan, the progress of which will be monitored.

Mrs Cave identified several areas where improvement was needed but said that learning from patient deaths, caused by both physical and mental illness, is critical. The trust is therefore developing a Physical Health Strategy to ensure that patients have access to care in other areas of the NHS should they need it.

On Wednesday, Jane Sayer, director of nursing, quality and patient safety, and Leigh Howlett, director of strategy and resources, stepped down from their positions on the trust’s board in response to the CQC report.

Dawn Collins, who has been deputy director of nursing and education since joining the trust in 2015, has been appointed as the trust’s interim director of nursing, quality and patient safety.

Ms Collins will also become a member of the Trust Board, where she will help to shape NSFT’s direction and future strategy.

“I am delighted to have been offered this new role,” said Ms Collins.

“It’s a brilliant opportunity to drive forward significant improvements for our service users and their families and carers, and I look forward to starting that work as soon as possible.

“The CQC report has brought with it huge challenges, but also gives us a fantastic chance to drive through changes which will make a real difference to some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”